The Cabinet introduced its "Plans for Industrial Development" yesterday, aimed at creating more jobs and revitalizing investment by offering more incentives.
The "Plans for Industrial Development" are a part of the Cabinet's "Big Warmth Plan" that aims to provide better care for the elderly and tackle the country's declining population. That plan has a three-year budget of NT$191.4 billion (US$5.78 billion).
"We are expecting a more prosperous business in the near future, after these new plans are implemented," Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said during a press conference after yesterday morning's Cabinet meeting.
The government will kick off the plans by opening more than 1,000 hectares of land for factory use, including land from state-run Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖).
Minister without Portfolio Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) said that she expects a total investment of about NT$175 billion a year with an additional 35,000 job opportunities to create an annual output of NT$210 billion.
The government will also try to improve the work environment and introduce more foreign workers.
To help the development of small and medium-sized companies, the government will relax regulations to help them obtain loans, through such measures as increasing the government guarantee from 50 percent to 70 percent for loan credit of their capital expenditure, and the allocation of NT$20 billion to invest in emerging strategic businesses.
To "create more opportunities for investments," Ho said that the government would encourage new business forms and start-up firms.
Assisting small business companies to grow is another priority, Ho said.
The plans are also aimed at developing more new industries and boosting the output value of wireless and broadband businesses by 2009 to NT$128 billion, business involving digital life to NT$640 billion, the health care industry to NT$320 billion and the green industry to NT$192 billion.
The government also plans to set up a certification system for farm produce to help increase their value.
Chen said the Ministry of Economic Affairs has completed the preparatory work to allow firms to apply for loans and land under the "Linking Taiwan to Asia" plan.
One industry leader, however, responded lukewarmly yesterday to the government's announcement of its new policies.
"Improving the business environment is certainly a good thing, but offering something to invest in should come first," Tsai Hung-ming (蔡宏明), an executive of the Chinese National Federation of Industries (全國工業總會), said in a telephone interview.
The business community has long urged the easing of regulations governing cross-strait trade regulations, but nothing was said about this in the new programs.
"This was not a surprise. We do not expect any improvement in this sector after years of urging," Tsai said.